July 31, 2015

The climber in the night

As the darkness falls, we start our way up in the forest. There is no a specific trail. One of the climbers, Kiril, knows a route straight through the bush. We use our headlamps to lilghten the way forward. It is warm and hummid and I start to sweat immediately. The mosquitoes and other night flies attack our faces. “Reaching this rock in the dark is not the most pleasant experience but it’s the only possible time for climbing in this period of the year” – says one of my friends as he tries to bend a branch and make his way through.

After a thirty minutes walk we reach a large, lonely rock, hiding among the trees.

The preparation begins – lightening the place, installing the crash pads and putting the climbing shoes on.

The climbers pay a special attention to their fingers, as the rock is sharp at some places and could easily harm the tissue.

There is no hurry in climber’s action. The process of preparation is a way of tuning the mind of what is to happens next.

Some magnesium powder on the hands…

…and the real game begins.

Each climbing route has a name. This one is named “the Pill”, a tough rock. Only few climbers finished the whole route before. Kiril discovered the rock last year and this route became his next challenge.

Starting a new “project” is a long process. First – findd an interesting rock, then created a route in your mind, clean the right areas (grips) from the moss, remeber the place well so you are able to come back in the night and finally climb it. The whole thing might take weeks.

Kiril is determined to accomplish his mission tonight and is very close but has some problems with this technical passage. After three attempts he decides to stop, keeping his strengths for other routes later tonight. “It will be still here next week, won’t slip away, I’ll hit it ” – he laughs.

As the night moves on we chose another rock. Kosta prepares to begin.

He makes several powerfull attemps on the rock, almost without a break.

It’s another difficult route.

He is almost there, few more grips. But his hands are too tired to progress through the final part and lands safely on the crash pads.

There is also female company with us. This is Svetla. She is deeply concentrated and absorbed by her plan to fulfil her mission.

Exploring the rock, before hitting up.

Svetla makes a few brave attempts.

The next one the rock is Valyo. He is quiet, precise and shows nice style.

The spectator feels the thrill and the adrenalin that that burts out from the climbers. They push hard and shout, encouraing themselves.

A moment of break having some energizer.

Hitting the rock again.

At the heat of the night.

The next route is called “Name day” – another tough piece of rock.

Beautiful motion and dynamic.

After two o’clock the night enthusiasts are a bit tired but don’t give up.

The route “Nameday” caught from another view.

Last attempt and then changing the spot again.

One adopts very quickly to this regime and reverses the night into the active period of the twenty four hours period. Sleep and relax under the shadow during the hot day and climb in the cool night. It’s a magical experience.

This area, located in Rila mountains, is one of the most famous bouldering places in Bulgaria.

Climbers has buillt a camp nearby. They are very careful with the nature, to preserve it as it is, because the mountain is their second home.

Climbers: Kiril, Kosta, Valyo, Svetla


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